Windows have moved on a long way from the traditional cross-pane glass that adorns many a child's drawing, and today we're faced with a huge variety of shapes, sizes, styles and materials. Thanks to our friends at Paramount Properties for this overview of the different sorts that you may see on different homes. They see a range of houses and flats in West Hampstead in many states of repair.
• Double-hung or single sash: This is the traditional type of window used in the UK. It features two panes of glass that overlap slightly and slide vertically up and down. A single sash window looks the same but only the bottom half moves.
• Casement: A window with a hinged sash that opens like a door. They can be side-hung or top-hung and you often feature a combination on the same window. They're operated by a hand crank.
• Awning: Similar in function to a casement window, they're hinged along the top and open outwards, offering protection from the rain. They're often used above a fixed pane.
• Fixed: A window that cannot be opened. Used simply for light and aesthetics, and often installed high in a room or opposite a staircase to maximise the light.
• Sliding: Similar in style to the double-hung, but they open horizontally rather than vertically, working in the same way as a traditional patio door.
• Bay: Designed to create a three-dimensional feel to your home from the outside, while letting in more light to the inside. They're multi-panel, with at least three panes set at different angles to stand out from the wall.
• PVCu: Around 85% of homes in the UK have PVCu windows. They're cheaper than wood, keep your home well-insulated and free from draughts, and are energy efficient. They also last a long time - around 35 years - and can be recycled up to ten times to make new windows. Their only downfall is they can't be repainted, so once they've discoloured, they need replacing.
• Wood: For years, wood was the most popular choice for windows, but it fell out of favour once double-glazing became popular, as the early wooden double-glazed windows were generally badly fitted - a problem that's now been fixed. There are two types of wooden windows: hardwood, which is very durable but more expensive, and softwood. Both need repainting every few years.
• Metal: Usually steel or aluminium, metal windows have fallen out of favour in recent years, though are now making a comeback in both period homes and modern buildings. They're made from recycled metal and offer a strength and durability not found in wood.
Matching Your Windows to Your Property
It's essential to choose windows that suit the style of your property and fit with the period in which it was built. Therefore, if you own an Edwardian or Victorian style property, PVCu sash windows are an excellent choice, offering traditional charm with the added benefit of high-energy performance and low maintenance, while modern properties suit a sleek, clean look, whereas if you live in a contemporary city-centre flat, you might opt for steel windowframes to give an extra-modern feel to your home.